Online Support

The Internet used well is a powerful and immediate tool for parents who need support, but you'll need to do more than just Google “Type 1 Diabetes.” There are sites, blogs, chat rooms, and information centers that can cover every angle of diabetes, and even a few you might not want to cover.

The JDRF's Online Diabetes Support Team

For a nearly immediate response to any diabetes questions or requests for support, click on www.jdrf.org and hit “Online Diabetes Support Team” on their home page. The ODST is a group of nearly a hundred “Cyber Volunteers” who all do online shifts and have special areas of expertise. Say you're the parent of a toddler just diagnosed and you live in the Northwest. The ODST will connect you, via e-mail, with another parent in the Northwest whose child was diagnosed as a toddler. You'll be able to ask that person questions anonymously, and then, if you choose, they can connect you with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation chapter nearest you.

The program must work. Since it's inception in 2002, the ODST has responded to more than 10,000 online support requests, and their average response time hovers at just about twenty-four hours. Some respond within an hour. Furthermore, they don't just talk to the newly diagnosed: Every age has its issues, and the ODST is there to help.

Once you've taken advantage of the ODST, they will leave it up to you if you want to reach out for in-person support or find out more about JDRF. There's no obligation, just support.

Children with Diabetes Web Site

Another great online resource is the Children with Diabetes Web site, or www.childrenwithdiabetes.com. This site, created by the father of a girl with diabetes, grew from a small site that parents discovered by word of mouth to one of the leaders in diabetes support. The site's parent chat room is often filled with experienced, helpful parents, and the sections of the site are like a diabetes 101 class. You can have your medical questions answered by medical experts. The site hosts special chats from time to time on subjects like holiday planning, going back to school, and dealing with teens. The site also hosts in-person conferences and events, which are discussed in the next section.

Other Web Sites

Although these two sites are the giants of online support for Type 1 diabetes and parents, there are others that offer some basics. The American Diabetes Association's Web site, www.diabetes.org, has a section on Type 1 and children with a lot of information, but no real-time online support is available for parents of children with Type 1. Another newer site that is growing is mychildhasdiabetes.com, which is put out by a Christian parenting group. At www.healthatoz.com, you can ask basic questions about Type 1 diabetes.

The best way to use the Internet is for your first outreach effort and then to keep up-to-date and in touch with other parents and on other new issues. Online support is an excellent resource that, partnered with some in-person support, can help parents feel as though they're not alone.

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